UK Prime Minister David Cameron 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)
British Prime Minister David Cameron decided that the UK will not take part in
the UN-sponsored Durban III anti-racism conference on September 22 because he did
not want the UK to engage in an event with anti-Semitic association, The Jewish
Chronicle reported Wednesday.
“No one should be in any doubt: This
government is 100 percent committed to tackling racism both at home and abroad,”
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“But those aims cannot be met by accepting this
Cameron added that in the past, the World Conference on
Racism saw “open displays” of “deplorable anti- Semitism,” and said it would be
“wrong” to engage in such events.
“That’s why the UK will play no part in
Nine of the UN’s 193 member nations have joined Israel
in pulling out of Durban III, including Germany, the US, Canada, Italy, Austria,
Australia, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.
About 40 delegates
dropped out of the 2009 conference, following what was widely described as a
hate speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
were widely considered to have hijacked the proceedings at the first two
conferences, and international-human rights issues appeared to become secondary to Israel bashing.
Critics of the conference have noted that
conference organizers have generally overlooked human-rights abuses reported in
This year, Canada was the first country to announce that
it would not attend the 2011 event, which is marking the 10th anniversary of the
UN World Conference on Racism.
Anne Bayefsky, a leading human rights scholar and the main organizer for a counter-Durban III conference on September 22, in New York City, told The Jerusalem Post
on Wednesday, that Britain has done the right thing by pulling out of Durban III. Durban III was an ill-conceived venture designed to trap world leaders, already attending the opening days of the UN General Assembly, into signing on to a mission irrevocably tainted with anti-Semitism. It marks a very important push-back by democratic states - long overdue - against UN platforms that undermine rights and freedoms for all. “
She added, “Britain’s pullout will be a serious blow to the UN and Durban III’s standing, and immediately raises the stakes for France in particular. The French can expect a serious hit to their moral stature on the world stage should they decide to stay without Britain or Germany.”
JTA contributed to this report.